Pollyanna Becomes Patron of Gamelea Countryside Training Trust

Pollyanna has accepted the post of patron to a remarkable charity which provides employment and training for adults with learning disabilities, and which is currently threatened with closure.

Pollyanna meets Craig, one of the students at the centre - and a highland cow!

The trust, which is based at Gamelea Farm, near Chesterfield offers a lifeline for people with learning disabilities, providing vocational training in everything from pottery to horticulture. The farm is also home to a variety of animals, including rare breed pigs, geese, hens and cattle, all of which are looked after by the volunteers.

However the centre is facing closure in three months unless £30,000 can be raised and has now launched a desperate plea for donations. If the cash can't be found, 20 members of staff, including six with learning disabilities themselves, will have to be made redundant.

New homes will also have to be found for animals in their care and the 100 students who rely on the centre for support and training will face an uncertain future. Elizabeth Hill, Gamelea's chief executive, said: "If we don't get the money in, this vital facility won't exist after Christmas — so it is crisis time.

Pollyanna will be lending her support to the urgent fund-raising campaign, and also donating work for a prize draw. An evening with Pollyanna when she will give one of her popular talks, and answer questions about her work is also planned, and details will be in the 'What's On' section as soon as dates have been finalised.

Anyone interesting in fund-raising, making a donation, or finding our more about the Trust's work should call the Trust on (01246) 566557.

Pollyanna is also patron of the national charities Naturewatch, Raptor Rescue, FABLE (For a Better Life with Epilepsy), a trustee of The African/Asian Conservation Trust and Honorary Vice President of the Wildlife Defence Fund. In her own region she is Honorary President of the North Derbyshire and District RSPCA, and the Derby Branch of Hearing Dogs for the deaf